Mothers, more than ever before, are being pulled in many, many directions. Oftentimes part of the “sandwich generation,” they’re not only mothering their children, but are taking care of their own mothers at the same time. As a result, many of these female caregivers are neglecting their own needs, putting both themselves and the ones they care for at risk and experiencing unhealthy levels of caregiver stress. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, as many as 67% of caregivers for family members are women. And likewise, the majority of those being cared for are female (68%), and are the mothers of their caregivers.
Although it may seem to be a natural fit for daughters to take care of their own mothers, in many cases, it’s not a role for which they’re prepared. Social workers are reporting that most family caregivers are not ready for the many varied aspects of their older relatives’ care, such as the financial burden, the amount of time it takes to provide care and the emotional toll it can take on themselves as well as their own children and spouse.
The tips below can help those providing care to ensure that they’re taking care of themselves as well:
- Respite is every caregiver’s right. Put together a trusted network of support, and make sure you’re taking regular breaks from providing care.
- Be on the lookout for symptoms of depression, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help when needed.
- Accept help from those who offer it, and let them know specific ways that they can assist.
- Educate yourself about your senior loved one’s condition and how to communicate effectively with his or her medical team.
- Utilize technology and caregiving techniques that foster your loved one’s independence.
- Trust your instincts. They’ll usually lead you in the right direction.
- Take care of your back when transferring your loved one and learn how to lift, push and pull properly.
- Grieve your losses, but then allow yourself to dream new dreams.
- Seek the support of other caregivers in a similar situation. It’s comforting to know you are not alone.
- Be an advocate for yourself. Stand up for your rights as a caregiver.
To explore respite care options that can reduce your caregiver stress while improving quality of life for your senior loved one, contact the Nashville in-home care experts at Caregivers By WholeCare at (615) 298-9201.